As I reflect back on the years since I started running, I can't help but wonder how different my life could have been if I had started running earlier.
What if I had never struggled with my weight?
What if I had never felt the downward pull of depression?
For one, I might never have found one of the things in life I am most passionate about. But in the early years I wasn't even sure I liked running—I just wanted to quickly lose weight.
If I could go back in time to help motivate and encourage my non-runner self, I would start with these eight thoughts.
Running is always going to be hard on some level.
There isn't some magic fitness level you get to where running suddenly feels easier. Sure, you get faster and can handle longer distances—both mentally and physically—but some days, even an easy 3-mile run feels like an epic battle. In these moments, I like to remind myself of the old adage, "If it was easy, everyone would do it."
How I feel about myself affects how my body reacts.
The mind-body connection is real. I repeatedly told myself that I was overweight, not athletic and not capable of doing what others could, which only made it harder for my body to love running. If I had been my biggest cheerleader and encouraged myself instead, maybe it wouldn't have been as much of a struggle in the early years.
Not seeing immediate improvements is okay.
While some improvements happened right away, others took time. The moments I wanted to give up for good always happened right before a powerful breakthrough. In a world of instant gratification, running rewards those with patience.